(The New Ledger) - At the most basic possible level, the Catholic Bishops — the men I hold as a matter of faith to be in the direct line of Apostolic Succession — have enabled scandal, and it has finally flowered in full. A bishop has plenary discretion in the manner in which he brings his wayward sheep back into the fold, but by any measure, to put this politely, the American bishops’ exercise of their discretion has been a total embarrassment. Scandal is the act of teaching, from a position of authority, by word or deed, that what is evil is actually good. For essentially my entire lifetime, the Democratic Party has made as one of its governing planks that women have an inherent right to murder their children. Catholic Democrats have not, with a tiny handful of exceptions, bothered to even murmur a protest; the most prominent among them have taken up that position as their own — some without even bothering to run for the Presidency first.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The problem is there is nothing in the article I can argue with. Sadly, it's all true. The USCCB is an epic failure on just about every front, and this of course carries on to many individual American bishops. Not all bishop have failed, but many have, and as a result the USCCB (a left-leaning bureaucratic body anyway) is pushed into the realm of extreme Left on economic issues, dabbling into various forms of outright Marxism.
The roster of names is so long that its recitation would be a total rebuke to the authority of any American Catholic bishop now living and many dead. Kennedy, Leahy, Kucinich, Drinan, Durbin, Pelosi, Casey (Jr.), Mitchell, Sebelius, Cuomo, I could go on. These are men and women who have made it the goal of their careers to advocate the abortion license, to preserve it and expand it. The leaders in the fight to keep public funding of abortion were overwhelmingly self-professed Catholics. Last night, they succeeded.
They teach by word and act that abortion is, at worst, an unfortunately necessary convenience, and is more often a good. They create scandal. They do so as Catholics...
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The problem here is centered around Subsidiarity, the Catholic principle of Social Justice which explicitly states that it is immoral for higher governing agencies to take over jobs that should be done by lower governing agencies. It's a bottom-up grassroots approach to government that is the complete antithesis of various forms of collectivism - Marxism, socialism, fascism and communism. The American constitutional ideal of federalism closely relates to Subsidiarity. Experts on Catholic Social Justice have called this the "hinge" upon which all of Catholic Social Justice turns, and without it there can be no Catholic Social Justice.
For something as important as Subsidiarity one would think the U.S. Catholic bishops would cover it in their official Catechism for U.S. Catholics. Instead, this all important principle of Subsidiarity gets barely a single line of mention. That is revealing. It tells a lot about where the priority of the USCCB is.
So when the Democratic controlled Congress introduced a healthcare reform bill that essentially set the stage for an eventual government takeover of the whole healthcare industry, the USCCB, along with many individual bishops, didn't see a problem with that. Instead they tried to negotiate the issue of abortion, as if it were some minor detail that had to be ironed out before this "wonderful" (yes, that's how one bishop described it) piece of legislation could be passed into law. Of course, once the extreme Left-wing Pro-Abortion Democrats in Congress and the Whitehouse realized the USCCB was willing to play footsie with them, they went to work on the backroom deals and language modification necessary to woo the Catholic votes needed and confuse the issue as much as possible. IT WORKED!
Because the USCCB was unwilling to take a clear stand for life over the years, by formerly excommunicating high profile Catholic politicians that voted for abortion, their last minute effort to throw the bill under the bus didn't work. Supposedly "Pro-Life" Catholic Democrats knew they were safe from any consequences of voting for a blatantly pro-abortion bill, so long as the President gave them the verbal promise of an executive order banning federal funding of abortion. After all, if the Catholic bishops never excommunicated the likes of Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi, how could they possibly chastise them? As for Subsidiarity - what's that? Obviously Catholic Democrats had never heard of it before, certainly not from the US Catholics Bishops. So obviously that was never a problem to begin with.
Yes, the USCCB is a miserable failure, and they had better be men enough to take the blame. It was in large part their fault and I do hope they'll own up to it. However, we certainly cannot lump all American bishops in together with them. There are quite a few who have individually stood for Life and Subsidiarity without reservation and without budging. To them "The Catholic Knight" tips his helmet, but sadly in the United States they are few and far in between.